Immigration Part 1: Legal Immigration
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Suggested length: 45 minutes
America’s promise of liberty, opportunity and equality has drawn people from around the world that seek better lives. To a large extent, we are defined by this multi-cultural diversity. Is this diversity a good thing, or should immigrants work to assimilate to American culture? Where do legal immigrants fit into the American narrative? This conversation is part of a three-part series on immigration. In this conversation, you and other participants will explore questions around legal immigration. By practicing the conversation agreements and sticking to the three-round structure, you’ll learn more about how you and your peers think about the importance of free speech and the responsibilities we all face around it.
Question Round 1: Get to know each other
Suggested length: 15 minutes
Get to know each other a bit by sharing something personal. Each participant should answer one or more of the following questions:
- How would you describe your town? (e.g. urban, rural, crowded, empty, big, small ...)
- How would you describe your school? (e.g. big, small, public, private, easy, fun, competitive, stressful ...)
- What are your favorite activities or hobbies outside of school?
- What do you want to do after you graduate?
- How would your best friends describe you?
Question Round 2: Listen and share to understand
Suggested length: 20 minutes
Share your views -- and listen openly to others' views -- on the assigned topic, without debating or trying to change anyone's opinion. Each participant should answer one or more of the following questions:
- At some point in history, your family members likely came to America from another country. What are the countries of origin for you and your family, and what brought your family here?
- Does your family have any traditions or values that stand out from traditional American culture?
- Do you know anyone that has altered themselves to better “fit” into American culture?
- Should immigrants learn to speak English to better fit in?
- Should American culture resemble a “melting pot,” with a single unified culture, or a “salad bowl,” with coexisting multicultural elements?
Question Round 3: Reflect and share takeaways
Suggested length: 10 minutes
Reflect on -- and share with other participants -- how it felt to join a Mismatch conversation. Each participant should answer one or more of the following questions:
- In one sentence, share what was most valuable to you in this conversation.
- What new learning or appreciation do you have after joining this conversation?
- Have you found common ground or areas of interest that surprised you?
- What is one important thing you thought was accomplished here?
Before starting a conversation, all participants must agree to these conversation agreements.
1. Be Curious and Open to Learning.
Listen to and be open to hearing all points of view. Maintain an attitude of exploration and learning. Conversation is as much about listening as it is about talking.
2. Look for Common Ground and Appreciate Differences.
In this conversation, we look for what we agree on and simply appreciate that we will disagree on some beliefs and opinions.
3. Be Purposeful and to the Point.
Notice if what you are conveying is or is not “on purpose” to the question at hand. Notice if you are making the same point more than once.
4. Show Respect and Suspend Judgment
Human beings tend to judge one another, do your best not to. Setting judgments aside will better enable you to learn from others and help them feel respected and appreciated.
5. Be Authentic and Welcome that from Others.
Share what’s important to you. Speak authentically from your personal and heartfelt experience. Be considerate to others who are doing the same.
6. Own and Guide the Conversation.
Take responsibility for the quality of your participation and the conversation by noticing what’s happening and actively support getting yourself and others back “on purpose” when needed.